Early life and education
Michael Marmot was born in London, England. He moved to Australia as a young child, attending Sydney Boys High School (1957-1961) and graduated in medicine from the University of Sydney in 1968. He earned a MPH in 1972 and PhD in 1975 from the University of California, Berkeley.
Marmot became Fellow of the (English) Faculty of Public Health Medicine in 1989 and was appointed Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL in 1985.
This became a joint Chair, held at UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in 1990. He became Director of the International Centre for Health and Society (now the International Institute for Society and Health) that he established at UCL in 1994. He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and awarded an MRC Professorship in 1995. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1996. He was made a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998. In 2004 he was awarded the Balzan Prize for Epidemiology. He was Chair of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health from 2005 to 2008.
He conducted ground-breaking studies of heart disease and stroke, comparing Japanese people in Japan (high stroke rates, low heart attack rates) with those in Hawaii and California, where, especially in later generations, the disease patterns became reversed after adopting lifestyle, stress and diet changes. He has more recently led the Whitehall Studies of British civil servants, again focusing on heart disease and other disease patterns. His department includes the MRC National Survey of Health & Development, a longitudinal study directed by Professor Michael Wadsworth of people born in Britain in 1946 and followed up since. There are 120 other academic staff in the department.
Sir Michael Marmot has a special interest in inequalities in health and their causes and has been a government advisor in seeking to identify ways to mitigate them. He served on the Scientific Advisory Group of the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health chaired by Sir Donald Acheson, the former UK chief medical officer. This reported in November 1998. In 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen for services to Epidemiology and understanding health inequalities. Internationally acclaimed, Professor Marmot is a Vice President of the Academia Europaea, a Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health set up by the World Health Organization in 2005. He won the Balzan Prize for Epidemiology in 2004, gave the Harveian Oration in 2006 and won the William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research in 2008.  In 2008 he became Doctor Honoris Causa of the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
In The Status Syndrome: How your social standing directly affects your health and life expectancy, he argues that socio-economic position is an important determinant for health outcomes. This result holds even if we control for the effects of income, education and risk factors (such as smoking) on health. The causal pathway Marmot identifies concerns the psychic benefits of "being in control" of one's life. Autonomy in this sense is related to our socio-economic position. Based on comparative studies, Marmot argues that we can make our society more participatory and inclusive in order to increase overall public health.
In 2008, Marmot appeared in Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?, an American documentary series examining the social determinants of health that drew heavily from Marmot's work on the Whitehall Studies.
On 6 November 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that the Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson had asked Sir Michael Marmot to chair a Review of Health Inequalities in England to inform policy making to address health inequalities from 2010. The Review was announced at the launch of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health report Closing the Gap in a Generation, and is due to report in December 2009.
The European Office of the WHO is commissioning a European Review on the Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide. The Review will be conducted by a Consortium of experts/institutions chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot.
The purpose of the review will be to identify the relevance of the findings of the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010 (Marmot Review), and other new evidence to the European context and specificity and translate these into policy proposals.
It will feed into the development of a renewed European Regional Health Policy and contribute to specific aspects of the policy especially where it relates to the social determinants of health. For more information see: http://www.marmotreview.org/european-review-of-hi/description.aspx
Sir Michael Marmot has two sons and a daughter (Deborah) and lives in Hampstead, London.
- "New Years Honours List – United Kingdom". The London Gazette. 55710: 2. 1999-12-30.
- "Sir Michael Marmot fue investido Doctor Honoris Causa por la UPCH – Perú". Cayetano Online 2011: 1. 2011-09-22.
- "Sir Michael Marmot recibe Doctor Honoris Causa – Perú". Facultad de Salud Pública y Administración (FASPA) 2011: 1. 2011-09-22.
- "Honour for health expert". Northumbria University. July 17, 2012
Media related to Michael Marmot at Wikimedia Commons
- Profile at University College London
- Whitehall Study II at UCL site
- Commission on the Social Determinants of Health
- Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England Post-2010
- Profile at The Marmot Review
- Fair Society, Healthy Lives: A Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England Post-2010
- Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Chair, Marmot Review
- Michael Marmot at the Internet Movie Database